We can't believe this antique-look closet is actually an IKEA hack – made from PAX units and budget timber

Wood-stain and brass handles transform this IKEA PAX closet into an antique-style built-in with beautiful arched doors

A bedroom with a fireplace and a large closet with wooden arched doors
(Image credit: Nicole Dryden (@the.decor.edit))

We all dream of a large built-in closet to store our ever-growing collection of clothes, and this clever IKEA PAX hack offers just that, all within a beautiful bespoke design. Arched wooden-effect fronts and brass hardware make this six-door wardrobe a statement piece of furniture that looks right at home in this understated, Scandi-cool bedroom - and we're utterly smitten. 

With some wood stain and custom brass hardware, this classic-looking IKEA hack adds a sophisticated, old-timey feel to this dressing room. It's all thanks to the work of home renovator Nicole Dryden (@the.decor.edit) who shares the progress of her seven-bed 1846 Scotland home over on her Instagram. 

'I had always wanted a dressing room space in the house with built-in wardrobes but bespoke wardrobes were never going to be within my budget,' she explains. 'Inspired by other IKEA PAX hacks I had seen on Instagram, I knew I could achieve the look and feel for the room I wanted….with a little help from my Dad!'

Here she shares how she gave her IKEA PAX a seamless, built-in look in just a few simple steps (and with a little help from her Dad!)

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. A personal fan of the Scandi-inspired interior, her job entails keeping up with everything there is to know about the Swedish powerhouse IKEA. Paired with her insight into the latest home renovation projects, she regularly shares IKEA hacks with readers to inspire their own DIY projects in home design. 

IKEA PAX to cool antique-look closet

Nicole of @the.decor.edit began by using the PAX planner on IKEA's website to lay out what she needed for the space, ordering enough PAX wardrobes to fill the entire back wall in her dressing room. 'Rather than using the back board that came with the wardrobes, I used thin sheets of plywood that I stained and waxed for more of a high-end walnut look,' she explains. 'I did the same with the hanging rail and swapped this out for a brass rail and fittings.'

Her next step involved securing the fittings onto the wall so they could take the weight of her clothes. 'Using timber, we created a frame along the ceiling, and down the sides of the wardrobes. This allowed me to use the space on top of the wardrobes for extra storage and would also be what we attached the sheet timber to in order to create the built-in look,' she explains. 

A large closet with open wooden arched doors and sliding pull out shelves

(Image credit: Nicole Dryden (@the.decor.edit))

The next step involved cutting the MDF to size and attaching it to the PAX frame, filling in the spaces between the wardrobe and the walls, ceiling and floor to achieve the built-in wardrobe idea. 'I then used a filler along all the seams which I sanded back once it was dry for a smooth finish,' Nicole notes. 

'We used a jigsaw to cut the arches out from the MDF to replicate the shape of the doors,' she adds. 'Once all the MDF was in place, filled and sanded, I used the same color of paint as the walls and gave the MDF a couple of coats. This helps with the visual of the wardrobes being built-in.'

A bedroom with a large wardrobe with arched wooden doors

(Image credit: Nicole Dryden (@the.decor.edit))

By far the most stunning element of the whole design is the vintage appearance of the wood-effect doors, which mimic traditional walnut wood. 'Doors were essential for me to hide the clutter in the wardrobe,' she says. 'I used a local builders merchant to cut the arches out of sheets of thicker plywood. This involved lots of skeptical looks as I enthusiastically explained my vision but they bought in, in the end!'

Modern brass T-bar handles, $9.95 each, Amazon
Get the look

Modern brass T-bar handles, $9.95 each, Amazon

These long, brass handles can be expensive, but this budget style from Amazon is a great way to get the look for less. 

A bedroom with a large wardrobe, a fireplace and arched wooden doors

(Image credit: Nicole Dryden (@the.decor.edit))

The doors were also stained to give the same walnut look and, once dry, Nicole added a coat of Osmo oil varnish to seal the deal. Finally, she attached the doors and added some sleek brass handles to complete the look.

'IKEA wardrobe hacks are a great way to get creative and a little adventurous,' says Nicole. 'The simple design of these wardrobes compliment the calming feel of the room that I have created… to help with that hectic morning rush!' If we were greeted by these closet doors every morning, we're pretty sure every day would be zen.

Osmo Polyx Oil, $23.99, Amazon
Get the essentials

Osmo Polyx Oil, $23.99, Amazon

This DIYer gave the arched timber doors a coat of this Osmo clear matte varnish to finish, protecting the wood and stain. 

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.